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Huge £22m broadband boost for Bradford
A £21.96 million contract between BT, Bradford Council and three other local authorities has been agreed to transform broadband speeds across most of West Yorkshire by the end of autumn 2015.
The new project, ‘Superfast West Yorkshire’, plans to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire.
As well as providing high-speed fibre, the partnership aims to upgrade all premises in the area to speeds of more than 2Mbps.
It is part of BT’s investment of £2.5 billion to roll fibre broadband out to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of next spring.
Bradford Council is being joined in the project by Leeds Council, Wakefield Council and Calderdale Council.
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said: “This £21.96 million project will deliver an incredible transformation in broadband speeds for thousands of homes and businesses in West Yorkshire. It will be instrumental in driving growth, boosting the local economy, and achieving the Government’s objective of reaching 95 per cent of all UK premises by 2017.”
BT say fibre broadband will be of particular benefit to local businesses which can use the high-speed technology to improve their competitiveness both nationally and internationally.
It will also enable a level playing field for small businesses to compete with multinationals on new business opportunities and aims to create and protect local jobs by attracting inward investment, said a spokesman.
BT also said fast upload speeds will mean employees can enjoy the flexibility of working from home to reduce office costs and encourage a good work-life balance.
The spokesman added that the project will also be of significant value to local residents who will have improved use of daily online activities like shopping, banking and catching up on their favourite TV programmes.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, chairman of the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities (AWYA), said: “This is an important day for West Yorkshire as we take a vital step forward in the digital age.
“Fast and reliable internet is becoming crucial to daily life and for residents in West Yorkshire. It will provide an equal opportunity to access essential online activities such as council services, healthcare and other public services as well as offering new leisure and educational opportunities.
“I believe it will help us strengthen our economy by giving small businesses a means to develop their potential and achieve their ambitions as well as encouraging new start-ups and job creation.
“This pioneering project will be of real benefit to many residents and businesses in West Yorkshire and we are continuing to work hard to bring the whole of West Yorkshire up to speed.”
“I encourage all businesses and residents in the region to take full advantage of this exciting opportunity and put West Yorkshire on the superfast map.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “This project is vital to the future economic strength of all the local authority areas involved in this project. It will go beyond BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband and take faster broadband to areas which are technically and economically more challenging.
“An enhanced digital infrastructure in West Yorkshire will help consolidate the area’s reputation for technology, innovation and enterprise and make this large part of the Leeds City Region a more attractive proposition for business re-locations and start-ups – including the creation of new, high-tech jobs.”
Superfast West Yorkshire will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months.